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Art Photo Collector

Posts tagged women:

"There is no end. There is no beginning. There is only the infinite passion of life." —Federico Fellini 

Earlier this year, I had the pleasure of being introduced to Marjorie Salvaterra and her work at the wonderful Palm Springs Photo Festival. There is an exuberance and fearlessness in her images that I find appealing. Ms. Salvaterra isn’t afraid to take chances. In her series, “Her”, she turns the mirror on herself and her own tangled feelings of what it means, in a universal sense, to be a woman and a mother.

Using the absurd and the surreal as her muses, she stages photographs that poke at us, prodding us to project our own emotions and interpretations onto what is happening. Salvaterra styles the models, directs the scenes, and takes us into this personal world. She’s in control of the images, but lets us interpret what it all means. This openness and uncertainty, I embrace. —Lane Nevares

“I want to sing like the birds sing, not worrying about who hears or what they think.” —Rumi

The Tehran-based photographer, Newsha Tavakolian’s, conceptual series “Listen” and “The Day I Became a Woman” are now on exhibit at LACMA, the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. This series focuses on Iranian professional female singers who have been unable to perform solo or to produce their own music since the revolution in 1979. Tavakolian brought these singers to a private studio, and filmed/photographed them performing in front of a chintzy ‘70’s-era backdrop to an imaginary audience. The power of the series lies in the absence, the silence of their passionate performances. In “The Day I Became a Woman,” Tavakolian explores the rite of passage for young muslim girls, who at age 9, transition into women in the faith.

In addition to the portraits of singers, Tavakolian also created these fictional CD covers (which metaphorically remain empty) that portray her own interpretation of Iranian society. Tavakolian writes, “For me a woman’s voice represents a power that if you silence it, imbalances society and makes everything deformed. The project ‘Listen’ echoes the voice of these silenced women. I let Iranian women singers perform through my camera while the world has never heard them.” For anyone interested in hearing more from Tavakolian, here is a brief video interview.

Like Shadi Ghadirian and other contemporaries, female Iranian photographers prove that despite the odds, contradictions, constraints, and milieu in which they work, there is always hope for art. Sometimes what is not said is the most important thing to hear. —Lane Nevares

To photograph truthfully and effectively is to see beneath the surfaces and record the qualities of nature and humanity which live or are latent in all things.”—Ansel Adams

The photogravure process, when done well, can yield magnificent results. The photographer Fritz Liedtke’s series and book “Astra Velum” (Veil of Stars) embraces this vintage technique. These penetrating portraits of freckled and scarred faces are wonderful to behold online, however, to actually hold them, is to truly appreciate the craftsmanship, the tonalities, and the tactile luxury of the Japanese paper.

Liedtke’s work is currently on view in Miami as part of the group show, “Historical Process/Contemporary Vision,” at the Dina Mitrani Gallery. While his explorations of skin and freckled faces represent a straightforward portraiture, these portraits also offer emotional resonance and beauty. If the eyes are our “windows to the soul,” then these images ask us to look inside beyond the “veil of stars.” —Lane Nevares

"The desire to discover, the desire to move, to capture the flavor—three concepts that describe the art of photography."—Helmut Newton

Helmut Newton’s work is familiar to us because he’s had such an indelible impact on photography. His images have stretched our cultural psyche to accept, even embrace, the possibilities for fashion photography and portraiture. He has influenced many photographers and has shaped our ideas of how far an artist can push the boundaries and still get paid.

Paying tribute to his legacy, The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles is now exhibiting, until early September, work from Newton’s first three books: White Women, Sleepless Nights and Big Nudes. It is not often we get to see Newton’s work on such a grand scale. With over 125 prints (some as large as 6 feet) on display, it is a perfect opportunity to discover for yourself why Newton still matters. —Lane Nevares

“I think of my work as documentations of transformation and performance. While gender is undoubtedly always a question in my work, I don’t see it as a boundary.” --Martín Gutierrez

As we know, things aren’t always what they seem. The artist, Martín Gutierrez, explores this ambiguity and the Real Doll phenomenon by casting himself into domestic scenes that float somewhere between suburban bliss and the Stepford Wives.

I am always inspired by artists who challenge convention, and in the case of Gutierrez, completely own their work. While these images may, on first glance, appear superficial and banal, there is far more going on. Gutierrez is responsible for everything in his images/videos: producing, directing, writing, casting, posing, styling, original music, and shooting the scenes. For this series, he casts himself as a “Real Doll”, and in doing so, creates a world that both disturbs and allures.

His first solo show, Martin(e), opens on the 11th at Ryan Lee Gallery in Chelsea. I am curious to see whether these small 8 x 12 inch images command attention, or whether they beg for a large-scale experience. —Lane Nevares

"Photography is one of the channels through which the present penetrates into the future, just as the art of the past got inside us. For me photography is a means to express systems of opinions and values, the author’s ideology."—Nikolay Bakharev 

The Siberian-born photographer, Nikolay Bakharev, isn’t particularly well-known in the States, but the Julie Saul Gallery and Dashwood Books in New York want to change that. Reared in an orphanage and largely self-taught, Bakharev began taking photographs in the early 1970’s and through the final days of the former Soviet Union. At at time when the State controlled everything, it was actually illegal to photograph the nude, much less engage in private commercial enterprise creating and selling one’s photographs. These photographs, therefore, were never meant for public consumption. They were intimate (even illicit) private photographic sessions between sitter and artist.

Bakharev’s single-minded approach to his work differed greatly from his clients’ expectations of their portrait session. While the sitters hoped for photographs that made them look beautiful or special, Bakharev states, "From my point of view, I expose the nature which people do not want to admit to, if it does not fit their notions of themselves." This tension between Bakharev and his clients is what makes these images simmer.

Dashwood Books has recently published a soft cover monograph of his work, Amateurs & Lovers, (here’s a video preview), and on the 10th, the Julie Saul Gallery will open Bakharev’s first US solo show also titled, “Amateurs & Lovers.” It will be interesting to see how an American 21st Century audience, with disparate recollections of the Soviet Union and its legacy, responds to this work—Lane Nevares

"I hadn’t even thought about prostitution until I walked into a brothel. I was probably very naive, which actually in retrospect did me a favour." —Jane Hilton 

The British photographer, Jane Hilton, has spent more than fifteen years getting to know “working girls” in Nevada. Commissioned by the BBC in 2000 for a series titled, “The Brothel/Love for Sale,” she completed ten documentaries about brothels, their workers, and the “johns” that frequent them. Hilton’s sensitive attention to her subjects, and the relationships she developed with them, are what sets her photographs apart. Given her choice to use a plate camera, these portraits are collaborations, and the women who sit for them, her patient friends.

Hilton’s latest show, Precious, opens today at Nailya Alexander Gallery here in New York. The accompanying monograph will be published later this month. 

Whether these images “challenge” notions about prostitution and societal taboos is anyone’s guess. What is important, however, is the artist’s intent. As Hilton puts it, “I know there are some incredible women hidden in these brothels and I wanted to show this.” Good enough for me. —Lane Nevares

“In my art, I wish to present myself through multiple lenses — as artist, as Moroccan, as traditionalist, as Liberal, as Muslim.  In short, I invite viewers to resist stereotypes.”—Lalla Essaydi

The work of Lalla Essaydi reminds me why I love photography. Sumptuous, complex, referential and captivating, her images seek the sublime. Underlying this aspiration for a transcendent beauty is a rich intellectual foundation that Essaydi eloquently explores in her writing. To appreciate the depth of her art is to read her statement

These large-scale works from her series “Harem Revisited” and “Bullets Revisited” will go on display tomorrow at Edwynn Houk Gallery in NYC. What we see online cannot reveal the elaborate detail in the intricate (and time consuming) henna calligraphy applied to her models, nor can it reveal the details in her staged sets. The photographs online, however, can lure us into reshaping our ideas of women, Arab culture and what photography can do. Join Lalla Essaydi on this journey. —Lane Nevares

"They were … pure and unadulterated photographs, and sometimes they hinted at the existence of visual truths that had escaped all other systems of detection."—John Szarkowski

The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art has recently opened, for the first time in 25 years, a major retrospective of the singular American photographer, Garry Winogrand. This is a big deal. The exhibit, organized and curated in conjunction with the National Gallery of Art, will later travel to DC and then on to the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York this summer. Given Winogrand's importance in the history of 20th Century photography, this will be one of the major shows of 2013.

Professional photographers, long before the days of digital, have always burned through rolls of film, snapping thousands and thousands of images. Winogrand was no exception. When he passed in 1984, he left behind dozens of marked-up proof sheets and more than 6,500 rolls of undeveloped film containing more than 250,000 images. What makes this retrospective particularly important is that nearly a third of the images in the show have never been printed or exhibited, creating a renewed and exciting opportunity to take a greater in-depth look at Winogrand's legacy. 

The forthcoming monograph to accompany the exhibit will also provide scholars and enthusiasts with a comprehensive resource for examining his importance and lasting influence on photography. Winogrand forever changed how photographers see, but it’s also worth noting that he expanded the possibilities of what happens in the frame. —Lane Nevares